"I'm seven months pregnant, and I'm having a baby boy," says 18-year-old Allison. "If I knew that my decision wasn't going to hurt anybody's feelings, like my mom and my grandma, I would place my baby up for adoption."
"I want my daughter to keep her baby. We've bought the crib. We have the clothes," says Greta.
"I've already bonded with Allison's baby. I've crocheted afghans for him," says Mary Jo, Allison's grandmother.
"My mom and I have told Allison we'll do anything to help her with the baby " daycare or helping her get a car. She can live with us as long as she needs to live with us without paying rent," Greta explains.
"Everyone tells me that it's my choice, but I know that I'm going to let down people either way," Allison laments.
"I think because the baby is a boy, that she has had second thoughts about keeping him," Mary Jo shares.
[AD]"The boys in my family are really angry, and we're just not close at all," Allison reveals, wiping away tears. "When I think about how sad my family would be if I gave him up for adoption, it really changes my mind."
"I think that Allison will really rise to the occasion and be a good mother. My heart would break if she chose adoption," Mary Jo says. "Our living condition right now is that she feels cramped. She shares a room with her mom, and the baby would have to be in the same room."
"I want to base my opinion on what Dr. Phil says. I want somebody to tell me what to do," Allison says.
"Nice try," Dr. Phil says to Allison. "I'm not going to tell you what to do. I'm not carrying that baby. I am going to help you think through this. The decision is yours, and I can promise you that I'm not going to railroad you into a decision here today." He asks Allison, her mother and grandmother, "Can we agree that whatever decision is made, it needs to put the baby's best interest first?"
"Yes," Allison replies.
"Your obligation as a mother is to essentially be a fiduciary. What you need to do is say, 'Everything comes second to what's in the baby's best interest,'" Dr. Phil tells Allison.
Mary Jo was 19 when she got pregnant for the first time, Greta was 17 and Allison was also 17. "We've got a pattern here of early pregnancy," Dr. Phil says. "If you were wanting to adopt this baby, and you went to an adoption agency, how would your family stack up to the criteria they look at?"
"I don't think we'd pass," Mary Jo admits.
"There's just dysfunction in our family. It's just everyday life," Greta says, noting that her sons abuse alcohol and drugs, and they've been violent.
[AD]"In fact, one of them held a knife to his other brother's throat, not long ago, and you had to call 911," Dr. Phil says.
"Is the home financially stable?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Well, we make it. We're not rich, but we make it," Greta says.
"To y'alls credit, everybody works. Everybody consistently works. You may not have all the money in the world but you consistently work, and I think that's a real plus in this situation," Dr. Phil says. "You're also both here in support of your daughter who is pregnant, which says a lot for you."
Dr. Phil introduces Ashley, 20, who was faced with making the same decision as Allison four years ago, and she placed her baby for adoption. "What do you think about this, having been through it?" he asks her.
"My decision was my mom wanting me to keep the baby. She would pull out the bag of guilt and say, 'Oh, I've already done this. I've already purchased this.' We didn't have a great relationship, my mother and I, and I feel like she felt that if I kept the baby, and she helped me raise it, that the baby would act as an adhesive to piece the family back together, and that is absolutely wrong," Ashley says. "I made the decision that I made not only for myself but mainly for this innocent child whom I was responsible for bringing into the world."
"Do you regret the decision at all?" Dr. Phil asks.
[AD]"Not at all," she says. "I know that I not only did something great for this child, but for this wonderful couple, who couldn't have children, and I was able to provide that for them and make them happy. That made me feel happy, knowing that I had done good and helped build this family."
"You also got a second chance out of this. What have you done with yourself since that time?" Dr. Phil asks.
"I have been able to do certain things with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, as far as speaking to other young girls about the trouble of being young and pregnant, and having to think about the decision that you have to make for yourself and for this child. It's difficult. It's not easy," she says.
"Alexandra, that is wise counsel, and I thank you for your candor in all of that," Dr. Phil says. "Marty, Erin, what did you want to say?"
"I am very proud of Alexandra for what she said, because she does understand that when she kept Nathan, she did so, but she also knew that Mommy and Daddy were right there to pick up the pieces, just like Mom and Grandma. So, when she wanted to go play, we took care of Nathan," Erin says. "I would never change what we have now with Nathan and Leilah, because they are the love of our lives; however, if, at this point, Alexandra had said that she wanted to put the baby up for adoption, I would say that's the greatest gift that you can give the child and the parents."
"What do you think about what we've talked about here?" Dr. Phil asks Allison.
"I'm really thankful for the advice. I'm going to take it into consideration," she says. "I know that I don't have that much time, but I'm really going to sit down and think about what I'm going to do."
"Think carefully about it, please," Dr. Phil says. He suggestion Allison ask herself some important questions before making her decision. "You can't divide your loyalty. You have to say, 'This child has nobody looking out for him but me,' and you need to do it with a singular purpose. If you decide to keep this child, then you need to make some serious changes in this situation, right? You don't want to bring this baby into what you describe as a dysfunctional situation. If you place the baby for adoption, do so carefully, and when you make the decision, make it with heart and head, so you don't get somebody's hopes up and then take the baby away. Understand and respect the adoptive family as well. You came in saying, 'If it wasn't for them, I would place the baby.' You guys get that, right?"
[AD]"Exactly, yes. Of course," Mary Jo says.
"You don't want to get her home and hotbox her on this. Let her make the decision about what she needs to do," Dr. Phil tells Mary Jo and Greta.